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December 14, 2015

Fiction That Wows Your Reader (Part 10)

Character Sketches Build Character

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Several blogs ago, I discussed creating characters and plots outside the box. In other words, you should create unique characters and plots that are different from the norm; yet, your reader would be able to identify with or feel sympathy toward at least one of the characters and would want to jump right into your book and be a part of the “scenery.”

Today, let’s discuss the importance of keeping good notes such as character sketches. Whether you’re writing juvenile fiction with a handful of characters or you’re tackling adult fiction that might have a dozen or so characters, you need to “know your people.” This is so vitally important if you’re going to write adult fiction with different points of view. (POV) You must know the character like a brother or consider him your best friend so you can get inside his head.

While writing ten tween books and just recently an Amish romance for adults, I found the biggest difference in how I handled writing the manuscripts has been character development. With tween books, character development can be shallow. Basically, all you need are five or six poignant details about the main characters, and you can fill in the blanks as you go. However, with an adult fiction manuscript that could be 50,000 to over 100,000 words long with multiple scenes in each chapter and numerous POVs, I discovered I had to have more detailed descriptions of all the characters, which included not only how they looked (appearance) but also how they felt about certain issues (philosophy or religious beliefs), why they thought or acted certain ways (background), and their circle of influence. (In Amish fiction, each family member is vitally important so I had to almost make a family tree for each main character.)

I’ve heard of authors who write such details about their characters that they give them a birth date, birthplace, and an actual family tree. They list their characters’ likes and dislikes; they name their characters’ best friends and enemies; they list the places the characters have visited, the education they’ve received, and the foods they like and dislike. Yadah, yadah, yadah.

“Whoa!” you might say. “Enough is enough. I’m not going to all that work before I even start.”

Well, those authors who do that are some of the best-selling ones. They know their “Bill” and “Susie” inside and out and no trouble writing what “Bill” would do if he saw a baby sparrow fall out of its nest or what “Susie” would do if her husband came home without the milk she reminded him to pick up at the store.

So how far you want to delve into character development is your choice. I have found that the more prep time I take to get to know Bill or Susie, the less time I waste with hashing out all those details when I get to crossroads that require the characters to act a certain way. In the long run, I think detailed character sketches make a writer a better craftsman all around, no matter how much time it takes.

So, weigh the work involved, and, maybe, just for practice, try writing a detailed character sketch. You might just enjoy yourself and find a brand new best friend!

Next time we’ll discuss the difference between “theme” and “plot.”

Happy writing! Marsha

(Web) www.marshahubler.com

(Writers Tips) www.marshahubler.wordpress.com

Montrose Christian Writers Conference http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

(Horse Facts Blog) www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

 

(More Shameless Promotion)

 

SNOW, PHANTOM STALLION OF THE POCONOS

 SNOW

Dallis Parker copes with bullying at school by dreaming about owning Snow, a wild Mustang,

who most folks believe doesn’t even exist.

Then she actually touches the horse, and her life is changed forever.

http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Phantom-Stallion-Marsha-Hubler-ebook/dp/B013GUF078/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449523382&sr=1-1&keywords=Snow%2C+Phantom+Stallion+of+the+Poconos

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Today’s Writers’ Tip: Meet the Author Beth Westcott

 Westcotts.+BigDuck

           Beth, her silly hubby Frank, and one of our “duckie” friends at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference

One of the sweetest gals I’ve ever had the privilege to know is Beth Westcott, a pastor’s wife, whom I met years ago at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference in Montrose, PA. Beth has been writing for quite a few years. Let’s get to know a little bit about her:

Beth Says Hi

“I trust you had a blessed Christmas and will have a joyous New Year,” she says. “May you hold the true meaning of Christmas in your hearts all year long.”

Her Roots

“I grew up on a farm,” Beth tells us. “Like many pre-teen girls, I loved horses. While the other group of girls ran screaming around the playground at school with a bunch of boys chasing them, the group I belonged to galloped and whinnied around as wild horses. Sometimes in real life, I had the opportunity to ride with friends, and my oldest sister owned a horse. I must confess I was never completely comfortable around horses. The idea for ‘Sadie and the Princess’ grew from my oldest granddaughter’s interest in horses.”

Beth’s Life Besides Writing:

The mother of three and grandmother of five (and one on the way), she has been in ministry with her pastor husband for more than thirty years. She enjoys teaching the Bible to children and women and enjoys music, sewing, and, of course, reading.

What Sparked Her Interest in Writing?

“My passion for writing began in second grade with a little poem about a lamb and a puppet play in third grade. I began writing seriously when I decided I needed to prepare for the empty nest after my children left home. It has been a journey of challenge and reward.”Beth.Reading

Thanks, Beth for a glimpse into your busy and fulfilling life!

Watch for Beth’s story to be posted soon on

Amazon and B & N

in MARSHA HUBLER’S HEART-WARMING HORSE STORIES:

“Sadie and the Princess”

More than anything in the world, Sadie Rose Collins wishes for a horse of her own. She thinks and dreams about horses all the time. Her parents say no, they can’t afford a horse, and Sadie figures God is too busy to listen to her prayer for a horse.

Then one day, Sadie sees a shaggy gray horse grazing in a neighbor’s pasture. “If you were my horse,” Sadie whispers, “I would brush you until you shine, and I’d ride you every day.” Assuming the worst about the horse’s owner, Sadie decides she must rescue this horse.

But how? Will her parents help her in her mission? Or maybe her best friend, Sasha, has an idea?

When Sadie learns that Sasha’s Aunt Amiya rescues neglected and abused horses, she decides this may be her best chance to have a horse of her own.

************

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Dec. 6, 2013

JUST FOR CHRISTMAS!

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Merry Christmas, readers! Just for an extra treat, over the next few days and/or weeks, some Helping Hands Press authors will be dropping by, maybe just to wish you a Merry Christmas, maybe to fill you in on their latest published works or soon-to-be-published works, maybe just to chat a little.

The PorchWe’re going to start today with a greeting from Patti Souder, the director of the Montrose Christian Writers Conference,  Montrose, PA, held every fourth week in July. This year, the conference will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Patti has written, co-authored, or contributed to 14 published books and has written and directed numerous plays and musicals. One of her special delights is creating tightly scripted drama sketches that bring Bible characters to life by using rhyme, rhythm, irony, and humor. The sketches touch people from many different cultures and generations and can be used effectively as dramatic readings or performances for small groups, marriage weekends, youth activities, and special programs as well as in worship settings. The drama sketches can be found at www.AlphaStarDrama.com.

Patti also enjoys speaking at conferences and banquets and singing with church and choral groups. She earned an MA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University and an RN from the Geisinger Medical Center School of Nursing and was active as a nurse for over twenty years. She is married to Larry Souder, President of the Montrose Broadcasting Corporation, with whom she co-hosts a daily radio program. Larry and Patti have three children and six Patti.Th.Nightgrandchildren, all of whom are joy-bringers. Her latest published work is a short story in MARSHA HUBLER’S HEART-WARMING CHRISTMAS STORIES collection. The same story will also be featured in MARSHA HUBLER’S HEART-WARMING HORSE STORIES. Patti’s story is published on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as an e-story for just .99. Whether you’re a Christmas admirer or a horse lover, check out:

HOBBY HORSE FAITH

A Short Story by

Patricia Souder

(for Marsha Hubler’s Heart-Warming Christmas Stories)

George Roe’s elation over finally securing a full-time job after being out of work for months is punctured by the revelation that his five-year-old son Douglas has pneumonia.

In the pre-antibiotic days of 1911, George and his wife, Nellie, face two crises. Will Douglas survive? And if he does, how can they even begin to afford the only gift he wants for Christmas, a hobby horse he fell in love with at Wanamaker’s.

If Douglas does pull through, how can his parents ease the disappointment he’ll experience if that hobby horse isn’t under the tree?

http://www.amazon.com/Marsha-Hublers-Heart-Warming-Horse-Stories-ebook/dp/B00H4H0444/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386353092&sr=1-1&keywords=Hobby+Horse+Faith

Hobby.Horse.Faith.Cover.Revised.

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